- Stock Apps
Best Stock Apps of 2023: Online Trading and Investment Apps for Free
Let’s dive into our top picks for the best stock trading apps and how to get started for free.
We’ve all seen movies like The Wolf of Wall Street or The Big Short. Full of high stakes and high rollers living the high life—only seen on the silver screen or in fancy New York apartments.
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This lifestyle isn’t as unattainable as you might think.
I’m not promising a luxury yacht, but if you’re willing to play the long game, you could strike lucky in long-term stock investing. The general rule is—the longer you invest, the more you’ll earn.
Whether making a few extra bucks or making bank, using stock trading apps is an ideal way to get the ball rolling.
This article will show you:
- Our pick of the best stock trading apps.
- How to choose the best trading app for you.
- How to get started as a beginner.
- The cost of trading stocks.
- How safe is online stock trading
Best Stock Apps of 2023
- Webull – Best app overall
- Charles Schwab – Best for long-term investing
- M1 – Best diverse investments
- Coinbase – Best for cryptocurrency
- Trade Station – Best for advanced users
- Fidelity – Best for international trading
- JP Morgan – Best for Chase customers
- So-Fi – Best for financial guidance
- Merill Edge – Best for Bank of America users
- TD Ameritrade – Best for all experience levels
- E-Trade – Best for active trading
- Acorns – Best for beginners
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Best Stock Apps—Summary
These apps impressed us so much, they made it onto our exclusive list. To save you from doing hours of research, we’ve included all the need-to-know facts in our table below.
If you want to know more about each stock app (pros and cons, why we picked it, and other notable alternatives), keep scrolling to find our honest reviews.
Want to Know More? Best Investing Apps: Detailed Reviews
Best Overall App—Webull
Why we picked it
If you’re still trying to wrap your head around stock trading—first, we don’t blame you, and second—Webull is a great place to start. One of our favorite features is the “Paper Trading” platform—a virtual trading simulator that lets you trade without losing any money.
Webull offers free trades on ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and options. You can also use fractional shares to buy smaller amounts of stock at higher share prices. Webull lets you stay on top of everything with its stock tracking and in-depth analysis tools.
You can open an account for free. There are no pesky account minimums to catch you out or commissions for trades made in your portfolio. The margin rates vary from 5.49% to 9.49%, depending on the size of the margin loan.
- Provides traditional IRAs
- Virtual trading simulator
- No trading commissions
- Required subscription for data and research
- No mutual funds or OTC stock trading
Best for Long-Term Investing—Charles Schwab
Why we picked it
For a company that’s been around for a while, Charles Schwab doesn’t show any signs of bowing down to the new kids on the block. With its self-described “modern approach to investing,” Schwab is a great pick for long-term investors.
So, how has Schwab stayed on top? They’ve packed their app full of useful features to make sure users get exactly what they’re looking for. You also have access to a bunch of account types where you can buy and sell fractional shares of stock.
For a helping hand, Schwab has a robo-advisor platform named “Schwab Intelligent Portfolio”, and plenty of educational resources—so you never miss a beat.
- Research and educational resources
- Fractional share trading
- Good choice of mutual funds
- Doesn’t allow cryptocurrency trading
- High margin rates
Best Diverse Investments—M1
Why we picked it
The world of stock trading is pretty diverse, so trading apps should cater to this diversity. M1 is a user-focused platform with plenty of customization options tailored to your preferences.
Personalization starts with the portfolio, with over 80 expert portfolios to choose from—after which M1 rebalances your portfolio with your asset allocation to gradually improve portfolio performance. Depending on your investment choices, M1 also offers automated and self-directed investing options.
M1’s user-centric approach provides free trades and decent cash back on Owner’s Reward Cards. With Auto-invest, M1 allocates money from your deposits into your portfolio, so everything stays on track.
- Wide range of expert portfolios with regular rebalancing
- High level of customization
- Provides a robo-advisor
- Lack of trading windows
- Expensive M1 Plus service
Best for Cryptocurrency—Coinbase
Why we picked it
If you’re eager to try cryptocurrency, this is the app for you. As one of the top cryptocurrency apps in the US, Coinbase has a ton of features that are a good fit for both novices and crypto experts.
You have plenty of choices, with access to more than 170 cryptocurrencies and over 500 crypto-to-crypto transaction options. The account comes with a $0 minimum—and the easy-to-use app lets you use US dollars to buy cryptocurrency.
For those still getting to grips with crypto, Coinbase has a ‘Earn to Learn’ feature—you can earn a few dollars worth of crypto by learning a thing or two from their video classes.
- Advanced charting options
- Range of educational video classes
- Access to over 170 cryptocurrencies
- Higher fees compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges
- Lacks fee transparency before making transactions
Best for Advanced Users—Trade Station
Why we picked it
If you already have a knack for investment and trading, keep on reading. Trade Station has many advanced features while keeping all your banking and investment accounts in one place.
It lets you buy and sell not only stocks, but also ETFs, mutual funds, and options. You can also get ahead with the app’s analysis tools, which cover stocks, futures, ETFs, and crypto markets.
If you want to take it further with a Trade Station brokerage account, you can use the Trade Station Analytics platform to access historical intraday data, extensive charting capabilities, and backtesting. And the best thing about the platform—it’s completely free.
- Low mutual fund commissions
- Real-time tracking
- Advanced features
- More complex for beginners
- Certain cryptos come with high withdrawal fees
- Doesn’t provide a no-transaction-fee for mutual funds
Best for International Trading—Fidelity
Why we picked it
True to its namesake, Fidelity has stayed loyal to its users by providing them with various investment choices and tools to help them get the best bang for their buck.
This high-quality app keeps you nicely up-to-date with a customizable news feed and access to stock research tools. There’s no time-wasting either—you can also use the app to deposit checks and pay debt on the go.
Like many of our picks, Fidelity has a $0 account minimum and doesn’t charge a cent for online stock and ETF trades. Plus—unlike many of our other choices—Fidelity lets you spread your wings by trading on international stock exchanges.
- $0 account minimum
- $0 commission for online stocks
- High-security features
- High margin rates
- No options to trade cryptocurrency
- High options commissions
Interactive brokers have clients from over 200 countries who can make investments in stocks, options, bonds, and futures from all over the world through their platform.
Best For Chase Customers—JP Morgan
Why we picked it
Chase users struck gold with this one. JP Morgan’s investing app can be accessed through the Chase Mobile app or Chase.com—making it a handy all-in-one solution.
Like Chase, JP Morgan offers plenty of features to keep you busy—from screeners and watch lists to portfolio-building tools. You can also brush up on your knowledge with a personalized news feed and market analysis features.
JP Morgan provides unlimited commission-free trades with countless investment options. You can also take your pick from various stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, and options. The personalization doesn’t stop there—you can also choose your account type (they all come with a $0 minimum).
- $0 account minimum
- Wide range of stocks
- Connects to all Chase account
- A minimum $2,500 balance is required for the Portfolio Builder
- Lack of research tools
Best For Financial Guidance—SoFi
Why we picked it
Short for Social Finance, SoFi gives you the chance to mingle, while managing all your investing and banking needs in one place.
You can opt for active investing (which covers stock trading) or automated investing (which comes with a robo-advisor to help you pick and manage your investments). To make sure you don’t make any costly slipups, you also have unlimited and free access to a financial advisor through video or phone.
SoFi offers free trades on stocks, cryptos, and ETFs. You’ll get your hands on plenty of banking features, such as personal loans, private student loans, mortgages, and high-yield savings accounts.
- No account minimums
- No commissions or trading fees
- Fractional shares and retirement accounts
- Lack of stock research tools
- 1.25% trading fee for cryptocurrencies
- No mutual fund trading
Personal Capital also gives access to financial advisors, and offers investment management tools—but the fees are notably higher, with a $100,000 account minimum for a robo-advisor.
Best For Bank of America Users—Merrill Edge
Why we picked it
There’s an app for everything these days, overloading you with options and crowding up your phone. Merrill Edge tackles this with its all-in-one banking and investing app—so you have all the tools in the palm of your hand.
The Merrill Edge® Self-Directed account is also an excellent choice for Bank of America users, as the investing and banking apps are nicely integrated. Speaking of apps, Merrill works well on both Android and iOS—with the ratings to prove it.
Merrill Edge offers various account types, with a $0 account minimum. And like our other top choices, Merrill also provides commission-free stock and ETF trades.
- $0 stock and ETF trades
- Range of account types
- Easy integration with Bank of America
- No cryptocurrency investing
- Fewer securities for advanced stock traders
Best For All Experience Levels—TD Ameritrade
Why we picked it
The world of stock trading can be confusing at the best of times. TD Ameritrade has a range of active trading platforms for both newbies and seasoned traders.
TD Ameritrade provides a fully customizable experience that lets you take the reins and decide on the right trading strategies and techniques for you. And if you’re still feeling lost, there are great customer service options to help you out.
Keeping up with our other top apps, TD Ameritrade also includes no trading commissions, a $0 stock trades, and a $0 account minimum.
- Free trading features
- Multiple trading platforms for different expertise
- No trading commissions or minimums
- No fractional shares investing
- No cryptocurrency investing
Ally Invest has enough tools and features for all experience levels. For beginners, there are $0 trading costs and no account minimum. Experienced users can use their Forex trading feature and a range of free tools.
Best for Active Trading—E-Trade
Why we picked it
If you’ve fallen prey to bad investment decisions, look no further. The E-trade app helps you turn your luck around with educational resources—complete with investment research and knowledge to avoid future investment blunders.
Going that extra mile, E-trade provides a good dose of data functionality and options trading to help you make smart investments. Once you start, you can keep tabs on your investments with a dashboard for tracking your investment vehicles, accounts, and trades.
Active traders can opt for the Power E-Trade app, which has more advanced elements—such as futures trading, real-time technical analysis of stocks, advanced options, and trading features.
- $0 commission for online US-listed stock
- Range of educational resources
- Tracking tools
- Fees for options contracts and retirement accounts
- Doesn’t support fractional share or cryptocurrency investing
- No international exchanges
Best for Beginners—Acorns
Why we picked it
Acorns is great for new investors coming onto the scene—it lets you kick-start your portfolio with only a small amount of money.
If you open an investment account with Acorns, you can invest in a portfolio of funds with access to thousands of stocks and bonds at only $3 a month. If planning ahead is your thing, you can choose from three different individual retirement accounts—as well as a regular brokerage account.
Once you start growing your portfolio, you can use Acorns’ robo-advisor for an affordable fee—giving you a helping hand in managing your portfolio.
- Choice of IRAs
- Affordable robo-advisor
- Earn bonus investments
- Fixed fees on small balances
- Account fees can differ depending on the account
- No options for self-directed investing
Despite past legal issues, Robinhood is a good choice for beginners because of its simple trading features and usability. The app also has a $0 account minimum.
How We Chose the Best Stock Trading Apps
To deliver our list of the best stock trading apps, we looked closely at what each app offers—including its features and limitations. The trading apps that made the cut offer a good balance between trading options, educational tools, personalization, and $0 rates.
Even if a trading app could have all the features in the world, it would be useless if it wasn’t user-friendly. Our top picks have all been rated highly by customers, who value easy navigation and any extra tools designed to give them a helping hand.
Our list also caters to different experience levels.
The Best Stock Trading App
All the stock apps on our list have their own impressive features, and will likely appeal to a wide range of preferences. Webull managed to just snatch the top spot by offering a well-rounded set of features and tools.
A unique feature is their “Paper Trading” virtual simulator. It’ll help you ease some pressure and try out trading without risking your hard-earned money. The tool even offers real-time data and unlimited cash, so you can really live out all your stock trading fantasies.
Webull’s other handy features include commission-free trading, fractional shares, buying and selling cryptocurrency, ETF trading, and OTC investing. For extra convenience, Webull also allows extended trading hours and has in-depth analysis tools—so you can stay ahead of the game.
Check out Webull’s site for promotions and free stock when you open a new account.
How to choose the best app for stocks
Stocks, investments, shares, ETFs—information overload. Navigating the world of stock trading is challenging—and finding the right app can be half the challenge. Countless reviews, trading terminology, and selly spiels can make you want to run a mile.
So, let’s break it down.
First things first—research. Yes, I can feel those eye rolls coming—research isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. But doing some digging can save you from the endless cycle of installing and uninstalling your apps after realizing it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
To get it right the first time, here are some key terms, features, and tools to watch out for when doing your stock app research—
Anything with the word ‘free’ certainly catches out attention—especially in the precarious world of stock trading. It’s pretty self-explanatory too—commission-free trading simply means you won’t get charged for buying or selling shares.
Robinhood was among the first to introduce commission-free trading—with other apps quickly following suit. However, brokers have to make money somehow. In 2020, Robinhood made $111 million out of its $180 million total on options trades.
So—even if you see commission-free trading, watch out for other charges, such as interest, subscription fees, margin lending costs, and additional trading fees.
Another good one to look out for is fractional shares. To put it simply, they are portions of stocks and ETFs that represent a small amount of an overall share.
This is a great option for those who can’t afford a full share of the stock, or those wanting to invest a set amount of money in a stock or ETF every month. Fractional shares are a relatively new concept—so not all stock apps will support this feature.
Rather than taking over the world, these robots are actually here to help you.
If you’re new to trading, robo-advisors help you manage your money and build your portfolio. They’ll make sure everything is aligned with your needs as they assess your financial preferences.
Robo-advisors help you achieve your investment goals and manage your money—but if you’re not quite ready to let the bots take over, you can still get advice from a human financial advisor for more tricky cases.
Individual retirement account (IRA)
Planning for the future—something we all should do, but many of us don’t. Well, here’s your chance. Many stock apps allow you to open an IRA account so that you can save money for retirement on a tax-deferred basis or with tax-free growth.
These tax benefits let you make the most out of your savings, as you can potentially see more growth than a traditional taxable account. Of course, contributing towards a 401(k) is also advisable if that’s available to you.
If someone were to tell you that you could learn how to predict the future, we wouldn’t blame you for being skeptical. But that’s exactly what options trading can do—kind of.
In not-so-basic terms, options trading relies on tradable contracts (options) to speculate on future stock markets—or individual stocks and bonds. Option contracts let you buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price before the contract expiry date. This way you can speculate on the rise and fall of an asset—and when these changes will happen.
Options trading is a pretty cost-effective way to deliver high percentage returns—but you’ll need to keep an eye on the market if you want to make a decent profit.
Who doesn’t like to learn? Ok, let me rephrase that—
Who wouldn’t like to learn how to make money?
Knowledge is power—and power is money. Brokers get this. That’s why so many apps have a bunch of educational features to give you the tools to make smart investment and trading decisions.
If you really want to nerd out, many apps also include market analysis features, stock research, and real-time data. Just pay attention to any sneaky extra fees—some apps charge extra or ask you to set up a paid account or subscription.
Best Stock Apps For Beginners
So—you’re familiar withstock trading, and you’ve been told how rewarding it can be—but you’re hesitant to get in on the action. And we don’t blame youfor being cautious.
Trading is like a puzzle—full of small parts you need to learn and piece together.
It isn’t so difficult if you know where to begin—start by looking for tools or forums to chat with other traders, avoid all the promotional gibberish, and look out for genuinely useful tips and tricks.
It’s also worth looking out for apps that give you access to stock charts, educational tools, and data—so you can really get to know the market.
If you’re just getting started, you’re not going to dive headfirst into the first obscure 5000-piece jigsaw you find. Better to go with simpler options. Companies like Webull, SoFi, and Fidelity will help you rest easy knowing you’re in relatively safe hands.
Once you’re more experienced, you’ll be ready to explore lesser-known options—armed with enough knowledge to see which apps are the real deal.
How To Get Started
Sure, tips and tricks are helpful—but here are some tangible steps you can take if you’re eager to dip your toes into the world of stock trading.
1. Do your research
Before diving in, take the time to investigate which app is the best choice for you. Take a look at what features and tools they offer—and how this could benefit you.
Don’t be afraid to play the field, and try a few different apps. If the first one doesn’t work for you, there are plenty more fish in the sea.
2. Learn the basics
Nobody learns to run before they can walk—and the same applies here. When it comes to stock trading, the stakes can be high—so take your time to learn the basics before taking the plunge.
Many online resources, courses, podcasts, and videos can help you learn and evaluate the stock market. If you know any seasoned stock traders, feel free to (respectfully) probe them to learn some first-hand tips.
Many stock apps also have educational resources (like stock charts and research) for you to keep up-to-date with all the latest findings.
3. Define your goals
You go to the gym to get fit and take a food masterclass to impress your dinner date. Defining your goals keeps you motivated and gives you something to aim for. The same goes for stock trading.
Before starting out, you should ask yourself why you want to buy and sell stocks and what price ranges you’re interested in. Are you planning on making short-term or long-term investments?
Focusing on your financial goals helps you find a stock trading app with features that perfectly match your needs and preferences. Earning some extra cash on the right app could pay for a second dinner date, after all.
4. Determine your investment choices
You’ve done your research, established your goals, and now you’re eager to get in on the action. But hold your horses. First, you need to decide on your investment strategy.
Do you want to have more control by selecting your individual stocks yourself? Would you prefer a robo-advisor to help manage your portfolio? (Or keep it traditional by working with a financial advisor to get some first-hand advice?
It’s also worth outlining how much you plan to invest. Remember, stocks can be volatile—so don’t go investing all your money at once. It’s way too risky. Instead, make sure you have enough money set aside for emergencies, savings, and your overpriced Starbucks addiction.
5. Choose your stocks
When money is on the line, you better choose wisely. When exploring options, go for the more stable stocks from businesses you’re familiar with and understand.
The S&P, a stock market index, has recorded the most volatile year since 2009. High-volatility stocks fluctuate more than your mood during puberty—and like pre-teens, they’re pretty unpredictable—so it’s best to stay clear if you’re a beginner.
Once you start investing, keep hold of long-term investments—that’ll give you the best chance of getting the most stable and profitable returns.
How Much Does It Cost To Start Trading Stocks
These days to make money, you have to spend it. Whether it’s buying that fancy suit for that corporate job, or using your life savings to start a never-been-done-before vegan food company.
Luckily, stock trading works a little differently.
Officially, there’s no minimum money requirement for you to begin trading stocks. When opening an account, many top apps have a $0 account minimum—meaning you don’t need to spend a cent to get started.
No need to worry if you can’t afford to buy whole shares. Many trading apps support fractional shares, which lets you buy a portion of the share and build it up over time. If you’re short on cash, you can also keep an eye out for apps with $0 commissions on trading—this means you won’t get charged extra fees for buying or selling shares.
Can you start with $100?
The short answer is—yes. But you won’t have as much freedom.
Opening an account should be no problem—many brokers don’t require a deposit. But to make that $100 stretch, you should use trading apps that don’t charge extra commission charges or pricey subscription fees.
With only $100, you would be lucky to find any full shares to purchase. But no worries—you can start by purchasing fractional shares, ETFs, or significant index funds. Just be aware that not all brokers will support this—so do your research before considering this an option.
Are Stock Trading Apps Safe?
We get it. Handling money online can be risky business. We’re no strangers to scrolling through reviews to make sure everything is legit. But if you opt for an established trading app, you can rest assured knowing everything is above board.
Holding money in a stock trading account isn’t so different from holding money with any major brokerage—and usually comes with insurance and investor protection. Many apps also have encrypted firewalls to enable secure transactions and prevent fraud.
Most apps use the same safety protocols for access as any standard web account—with a user ID and password. As long as your password is more complex than the classic 12345, you should be fine.
Online trading is a smart way to earn extra money and make profitable investments. Finding the right app is the key to success and getting all your needs met with the proper support.
Stock trading requires patience and discipline—the same rules apply when searching for the right platform. Take your time to investigate the different apps to be sure you’ve found the best fit for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best stock trading platform?
We chose Webull as the best stock trading platform because it offers free trades on stock, ETFs, and options—as well as supporting fractional shares. Their trading simulator also lets you learn and experience trading without any risks.
However, the best stock app for you will depend on your personal preferences and experience.
What app gives you free stock for trading?
Many apps offer $0 commission on stock trading. Robinhood paved the way for free stock trading and gives you free stock after signing up.
What is the best stock app for iPhone?
The majority of stock apps are compatible with iOS and Android. You can also access many of them on your desktop, tablet, or Apple Watch.
Some apps are only compatible with more recent Android or iPhone models—so check the requirements before you decide on an app.
Fitzgerald, K. R., Maggie. (2020, August 13). Here’s how Robinhood is raking in record cash on customer trades—Despite making it free. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/13/how-robinhood-makes-money-on-customer-trades-despite-making-it-free.html
The SPIKES® Volatility Index Is Helping Traders Turn This Year’s Unprecedented Volatility Into An Opportunity. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/spikes-volatility-index-helping-traders-130000040.html
Editorial teamMeet the team
Lauren is a published content writer who is passionate about helping and informing others through her content. In the last 5 years, Lauren has written about a range of subjects, including business, technology and finance.
Editor, copywriter, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands. When not editing articles for LifeAndMyFinances.com, he enjoys rummaging through paper dictionaries, walking in nature, and making travel plans.
Personal Finance Expert
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.
Content writing and marketing professional with 4+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.
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I personally tested them all. These are the best investing apps in 2023.